Simonis Voogd and Robertson and Caine have hit a sweet spot with the Leopard 48. Multiple owners report that as soon as they saw the 48, their boat search came to a sudden halt. She's big enough for comfort, large accommodations and ample storage, yet easy to manage, even to singlehand. And the forward cockpit proves to be a very popular feature.
Four Leopard 48 owners who have plans to log some serious nautical miles on their Leopard 48s, including two who are already logging them, shared their comments and stories with us.
Happy Together, South Florida
Performance: A Seriously Fast Cat
"The first time we went out, we put up the main and genny and the boat sailed great and we were able to hit 8 or 9 knots. Compared to our Hunter 49 monohull, those were really great speeds. That was in 10 knots of wind, and we hit 9 knots. The boat felt very light and fast.
The next weekend, we raised the code zero. In 5 minutes we were sailing along at around 12 knots in 10 knots of wind. I never imagined that the boat would sail consistently that fast.
Yesterday, we took the boat out in 20 knots and we hit 15.5 knots, right off of Ft. Lauderdale. We were just shocked. We were checking the knot meter against an app to see if we were missing something! The code zero was really easy to handle. And we had full fuel tanks, full water tanks, all gear aboard including tender. Fully loaded, we hit 15.5 knots.
Making the Switch: Monohull to Catamaran
"We had a Hunter 49 which we kept in the Caribbean. With this cat we're planning on going farther and wider. When we're leaving the Caribbean and heading to Panama, I don't want to be rolling downwind for 5 days. A lot of people that I had talked to had started switching to cats for distance cruising for the stability factor. Once we saw the Leopard 48, we didn't want to wait. We chose a Leopard because of the speed, size and stability. There was just nothing in our opinion that matched it. From all the owners that we've talked to, the Leopards are the fastest." -Randy Smith
The Smiths will leave South Florida for the Caribbean later this month. Over the next few years, in addition to the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Happy Together's hulls will move through the water in the Pacific Ocean and maybe even the Mediterranean Sea.
Rubber Ducky, Long Beach, California
Sailing Her Home: Ft Lauderdale - Panama Canal - Costa Rica - Nicaragua - Puerto Vallarta - Ensenada
"On March 6th, we left on our 48 from Florida to Ensenada. I had never done an overnight. It was 1350 miles.
On the North side of Cuba headed toward Haiti, that was the toughest part of the trip. We were double reefed for 5 days straight into 45-50 knot winds with 10-12 ft seas. After a couple of days, it starts to get to you, but everybody adapted really quickly. The boat was unbelieveable. The boat can handle a hell of a lot more than the crew.
Once we cleared Haiti, and got out of the lee, we were headed straight at the Panama canal doing 14-18 in 45-50 knots. Those 750 miles we did in three days. It was really fun."
5 Years of Shopping
"I started off interested in a 62 foot cat. If I can't singlehand it, I won't have it. Every broker I talked to told me I couldn't handle the 62. Then I was looking at a 55-footer. When I saw the Leopard 48 with the "front porch" I decided. Bob Ross called me and said 'Dude, your boat's here.'
And now I'm really convinced after sailing it that singlehanding is not a problem. It's a phenomenal boat. It's a house on the water but it handles better than I expected. I can't say enough good things about it." -Ken Douthit
Ken and his wife Joyce plan to sail locally in California and then take on Hawaii and Vancouver while they complete their business exit strategy. Once they are able to fully disconnect, they plan to sail back through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean and across to the Med.
Rubber Ducky Crew pictured above: Left to right, Mark Harrison, sailor extraordinaire, Joyce Clark, first mate, Captain Ken, and Jayeson Douthit, son and medic.
A Frenchman chooses a South African Cat
"Being French, I had an inclination to buy a French catamaran. I went to La Grande Motte, looked at all of the French cats, and after one day I was inclined to choose another one. We went back to the show to look at the others, went out on the 44, and loved it. The forward cockpit was a really nice idea. We loved it at first glance. But there was no chart table. My concern with the 48 [which has a chart table] was whether I would be able to handle it with my lady with my level of seamanship. We chartered for 6 days on the 48 and 5 days on the 44, to make a fair comparison. At the end of the process, I decided that I could handle to 48." - Albert Levy
Albert and Joelle crossed the Atlantic earlier this summer with the ARC Europe rally (which they won- both legs, in fact!), and after spending a couple of summers enjoying their boat in and around the Med, they plan a leisurely circumnavigation.
WIDAGO, South Florida
Finding a Family Home- One that Sails Well
"We knew we wanted a production catamaran and we looked at all of the models and makes that were out there. We started looking before the 48 was in production. We were looking around the 50-60 ft range and we hadn't even considered Leopard. Then once the 48 came out, once we saw it, we settled in on it for our size family. The 48 was a great fit. The forward cockpit was a new design - it was a no-brainer for us. Once we saw the Leopard line we pretty much just stopped looking at everything else. We wanted a more cruising-oriented boat. We really just wanted to be comfortable. The Leopard fit in beautifully with impressive speed for the size but uber comfortable.
We're both very happy with its performance in varying conditions and we've seen quite a bit. We've had very few warranty issues and they were fixed quickly." -Guyon Moseley
The Moseleys completed the ARC Europe rally earlier this summer and then moved straight into the ARC Baltic rally. They are sailing with their three pre-teen boys for two years and will circumnavigate, again with the World Cruising Club, over Winter 2016 - Spring 2017. Here's their current location: http://widago.com/maps/current/.
View the Leopard 48 for yourself! The Leopard 48 and other sail models will be on display at the Annapolis Boat Show. Contact us for more information.